With the year about to end, let’s pause and consider some of the deep insights we have learned from New Atheist leaders in 2013. I consider these defining moments that I will be able to revisit again in the future.
Jerry Coyne taught us that even if you think X is true, it is perfectly okay to live a life that acts as if X is not true:
Let’s nip this line of thought in the bud right here. Yes, I think that all human actions are predetermined and not under some kind of dualistic control. Nevertheless we all, including incompatibilists like myself, act as if we have choices, for our feeling of agency is strong. So please don’t say that I shouldn’t make “should” statements because of that. I will act as though I have free choices even though I don’t.
Richard Dawkins taught us that his insistence that he would change his mind about his atheism if only someone provided him the evidence was all just lip service to the way scientists are supposed to approach things and, in reality, it looks like nothing could exist or happen to lead him to think there was evidence for God’s existence:
Boghossian: What would it take for you to believe in a God?
Dawkins: I used to say it would be very simple, in would be the Second Coming of Jesus or a great big, deep booming voice saying, “I am God and I created”, but I was persuaded.. even if there was this big booming voice and second coming in clouds of glory, the more probable explanation is that it’s a hallucination or a conjuring trick by David Copperfield ….a supernatural explanation for anything is incoherent
Boghossian: So, what would persuade you?
Dawkins: Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.
Finally, we have Dawkins’s sidekick, Lawrence Krauss, who admitted on a radio show that his atheism was rooted in his emotional wants:
First BTW, and I don’t call myself an atheist, I call myself an antitheist. I can’t say for certain there is no God, but I can certainly say I wouldn’t want to live in a universe with one, some cosmic Saddam Hussein who set things up.
You talk about this god of love and everything else. But somehow if you don’t believe in him, you don’t get any of the benefits, so you have to believe. And then if y’does anything wrong, you’re going to be judged for it. I don’t want to be judged by God, that’s the bottom line.
It looks to me, judging from the views of these popular New Atheist leaders, that New Atheism itself is a subjective, emotional outlook on the world that includes closed-mindedness and hypocrisy. Yet this is supposed to be the viewpoint that will make the world a better place.